Friday, September 30, 2005

Wanking Club: The Rise and Fall

Wanking Club: The Rise and Fall

The first of rule of Wanking Club - ….oh, you know how it goes.

And you just know there’s going to be woe in the last paragraph, simply because they broke the first rule. They wouldn’t bloody well shut up about Wanking Club.

And at last the truth can be told. Only the names have been changed. And the facts.

If there’s one thing about adolescent schoolboys (not to mention large numbers of male adults), it’s an almost overwhelming pre-occupation with matters sexual. In most cases, this finds some sort of outlet in the shape of female company, or better still, with some nice, healthy outdoor pursuit where the subject is too busy swinging from tree-to-tree to notice strange hairs growing round his swonnicles.

In other unfortunate cases, however, the subject is forced into a life of onanism, where the only place hair is growing is on the palms of the hands. And with access to stimulatory literature barred to all but the most enterprising, the poor teenage male is often forced into a life of furtive shuffles to the lingerie pages of mail order catalogues. And once this fascination is exhausted, the youth may pass into adulthood, quietly, without fuss, or the ridicule of his peers.

And so, certain contemporaries of mine decided that what they really needed from life was some sort of clubhouse where they could quite literally come together and wank themselves senseless. A Wanking Club, as it were.

They chose the school darkroom. Already with its own seedy history, thanks to a roll of negatives left lying in a drawer featuring the object of our youthful desires – the curvaceous Miss Shagwell – in various states of undress, the Wanking Club members would shame the genuine school photographic society even further with their own homo-erotic fumblings. Mack, already a photographic society member was allowed a key to the darkroom, and abused his privilege with after-school self-abuse.

There were at least a dozen Wanking Club members, the majority of whom had absolutely no interest in photography outside the layout of the latest copy of Fiesta or Escort to fall into their hands.

I was, and I cannot make this point any clearer, not a member of Wanking Club. However, and I’m sure you’ll excuse the double entendre, they were an enormous pain in the arse.

There’s nothing worse, when you’re trying to get the exposure right on a nice picture of a train (Class 47 Brush, belting along the GWR mainline to Bristol. Not that I’d know that kind of thing, you understand), than hearing the words “Is it hard yet?”. Actually there is – it’s having access to the sink blocked at a vital moment in developing your work, stumbling around in the darkness, by some teen pervert going “Oooh, I must have done PINTS”, whilst washing his bell-end all over your entry for the school photographic competition.

You could have light-sensitive photographic paper strewn all over the place, or just be popping a roll of freshly exposed film out of its light-proof container – “Engaged – DO NOT ENTER” sign hanging on the door, and a huge red light telling approaching idoits to bugger off - when the door would burst open and some teenage pervert would appear fumbling with his zipper, and a copy of the morning’s Sun newspaper already opened at page three.

It was enough to drive us speccy, keeno, after-school club going freaks to do something, and do something pretty bloody radical. Like say, “Damn” under our breath.

But Wanking Club’s very enthusiasm for the art of the hand shandy proved to be their downfall, especially if, from what I could hear, some weren't very good at it.

"Am I... am I doing this right?"

They were doomed to exposure from the very start. What they had failed to realise in their misguided homo-erotic lust, was that the school darkroom was situated next door to the staff room.

The entire building was constructed in the late 1970s out of the cheapest materials available, and only a thin layer of cardboard and chicken wire separated the conflict between photographers and masturbators from the adults who thought they ran the school. Thanks to this quirk of the architecture – and rather like Wren’s Whispering Gallery in St Paul’s Cathedral – the entire school faculty could hear every word spoken next door.

“Derek! I’m coming!”

“Fuck off and get your own tits!”

“Pass the ruler.”

Doomed from the start.

The bust was quick and brutal in its shaming of the perpetrators, led from their den, trousers round their ankles like a prison work gang in manacles. A stash of pornography was discovered in a cardboard box marked "Mack's Mags - Get Youre Own", and that filled the bin in one go. A crack squad of cleaners was sent in to fumigate the entire room, and a McCarthyite hearing was set up, in which the camera club was eventually exonerated.

There were no detentions, lines or useless jobs round the school. There was far, far worse. The letter home. For shame.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

A Return to Hell

A Return to Hell

“Here, Scary, come look at this!” Dave called across the office.

I rushed across to a television monitor where a frighteningly familiar scene awaited me…

You see, just when I thought I was over my ball-bag horror, ITV went and showed a vasectomy LIVE on This Morning yesterday morning.

Hell’s teeth, it was bad enough having one done already without being forced to go through it all over again, only with TV’s favourite midget P. Schofield wittering in the background as some doctor went at the victim's plums like they were an undercooked turkey on Christmas Day.

I winced, a familiar kick-in-the-groin feeling rooting me to the spot. God, I hope the poor sod brought his tightest y-fronts with him.

It occurred to me whilst watching this horror show - which should only have been screened in the punishment scenes in A Clockwork Orange – that my preparations for my big day were - let’s just say – rather too thorough. Not knowing where the incisions were going to be, I didn't actually need to shave all my short-and-curlies off at all. Knowing this would have saved me the best part of an hour at the wrong end of a razor blade, time which could have been spent worrying myself stupid.

So, in retrospect, I could have actually left the non-ballsack hair well alone, and gone into the operating theatre with private parts looking exactly like a young Tom Hanks. Or, with a cheeky moustache, Groucho Marx. Live and learn.

And now - a word from our sponsors: Celebrity lookalike available for children’s parties, bar mitzvahs, funeral wakes. The best Tom Hanks impersonator in the business. No refunds.

Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 341

Once again so-called soothsayer Nostradamus has been shown up as a fake. He predicted that Manchester City would dominate English football in the 1990's, when in fact it was near neighbours United who took all the silverware. The bloody charlatan.

The Thursday vote-o

As I’m running about like a mad thing for the next couple of days [hint: the Hotel Duck is once again receiving a weekend visit from relatives for the 27th week in a row], the vote-o’s going to be the same format as last week.

Two tales of woe, one 4pm voting deadline, and for once, genuine Scary quote-os to go with the vote-o.

* Revolution!: In which I unwittingly change the course of history. May involve language and nunchuks.
* Wanking Club – The Rise and Fall: In which, you will be pleased to hear, I pay no active part in the story. Contains mild peril and partial nudity.

In the words of them there Beatles: “Vote, vote me do”.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Political Correctness, Gone Mad, Again

Political Correctness, Gone Mad, Again

The British Board of Film Classification – the people charged with protecting us, a British public quivering with fear, from the very worst the Hollywood dream factory is prepared to inflict on us, has, I am sorry to report let this terrible responsibility go to its head.

Despite adopting a system in which virtually no film ever receives an 18 certificate these days unless it shows fallopian tubes and/or violent death on a scale Attila the Hun could only dream of, they seem to think theirs is the duty to send us careering in abject fear the cinema or video shop.

Hence, films now come with disclaimers such as “PG Certificate: Contains extended scenes of gore, violent death and Jimmy Carr” and “12 Certificate: Flee! Flee! Naked tits!”

I would question, however, whether they’re taking this rather too far, and are wrapping the viewer in layer upon layer of cotton wool. Take for example a couple of recent releases:

Pride and Prejudice: “Contains very mild innuendo” – that’s it, I’m not going now.

Dad’s Army DVD: “One racism reference” – that’ll be those fuzzy-wuzzies. They don’t like it up ‘em, you know.

Wallace and Gromit: “Mild scary action and language”

I’ve also seen some Winnie the Pooh animated epic scaring small children away from cinemas the length of the country with the stern warning “contains very mild peril”, although they appear to have missed the obvious “and the word ‘pooh’”. More of this low comedy at their website - "Contains very mild comic violence and word play".

Pity the BBFC, really. They watch all that filth so we don’t have to. Where do I sign up?

Things I never knew until I made a flippant remark on my weblog

- There really is a Nationalist Socialist White People’s Party who are genuine redneck Nazis, and not some excellent plot device made up for The Blues Brothers

- The one schoolyard gag guaranteed to reduce hundreds of my contemporise into a mass of giggling idiots (Two prostitutes standing on a street corner. One says to the other, "Have you ever been picked up by the fuzz?" The other replies, "No, but I've been swung around by the tits!") was – according to the internets – first told by Tommy Cooper.

- Isaac Newton invented the cat flap. What did you invent Stephen Hawking? What? WHAT?

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

My son, the heretic and other parables

My son, the heretic

Scaryduck Jr came stomping out of school yesterday in the foulest mood.

“I’m really, really cross with Mrs Hyde,” he said.

Why so?

“We had RE today, and she said God created the world in a week, and all the people on the sixth day.”

Yes, it does say that in the Bible…

“But it’s WRONG! What about the dinosaurs? They were around MILLIONS of years before we were. There’s fossils an’ everything in museums. What about EVOLUTION, dad?”


“And how about all the planets and everything in space? They weren’t all made in one day, either. It’s all wrong, that’s what it is”

Did you tell her?

“No, but I thought it. I didn’t want to get into trouble.”

He is nine.

That’s my boy*.

And there, in the corner of the playground, I noticed a large pile of kindling I hadn’t seen before, piled against what I had previously mistaken for the maypole.

This year, I must choose between the two schools that my children will be going to once they reach the age of eleven. Church School vs Technology College. No brainer, if you ask me.

* For those of you who think I encourage that kind of thing, this: "Gravity explains the motions of the planets, but it cannot explain who set the planets in motion. God governs all things and knows all that is or can be done." – Sir Isaac Newton.

Not Sky Watch

Got Sky? Sickened by the depraved filth that’s leaching its way into your household? Worrying yourself shitty that Satan’s got all the best TV channels and you’re tempted to give those Tarot-wielding fiends on Destiny TV a call? Then stop –get Christian TV.

That’s right! Christian TV! Pay twenty quid a month to receive a Sky receiver that can only receive, good, wholesome Christian channels [and for some unexplained reason, Al-Jazeera and Chinese State TV] and protect your family from the oozing river of filth that is corrupting the minds of our children.

Christian TV – for the viewer who needs to be told what to watch.

And sorry, the Islam Channel’s off the menu as well. We don’t want you heathen Jesus-worshippers corrupting our kids. Ah.

The sickest thing I’ve ever written

…is, of course, a version of the infamous Aristocrats gag.

Over here, for your reading pleasure and/or condemnation.


Nearly forgot... Today is Professor Duck's birthday. Happy birthday, Dad.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Green Cross Man

Green Cross Man

Six-twenty on a Sunday morning, cruising along the road to Salisbury at a speed that can only be described as “Good Lord Officer, I didn’t notice the needle creeping up that far”, listening to the lovely Alison Goldfrapp singing about her infatuation with a strict machine. I had the road to myself, helter-skeltering past the Tree That Looks Like A Duck, the morning sky a shade of red that would leave any self-respecting shepherd quaking in his boots, as the morning mist rolled off the fields.

Then: an explosion of brown from the bushes not twenty feet in front of my car, closely followed by an explosion of brown in my trousers. Into the half-light sprung a fully-grown deer, leaping into the middle of the road as my right foot hammered down on the brake pedal, missing the thing by no more than a hoof’s width.

Barely breaking step, it disappeared into the field on the other side of the road, where he took a proper bollocking from a clearly livid Tufty*. The whole episode lasted no more than two seconds, and my rampant braking has taken no more than 20mph off my speed, so a collision would have been a right bloody mess.

My first reaction: “My God, that would have buggered up my car”, was probably not, in hindsight, the correct one. Nor was the second “There’s good eating on one of those”, come to think of it.

Third time’s a charm: “Bloody hell, I nearly run over a deer!”

And then, in a cloud of feathers, I reamed a pheasant. Sorry.

* Renewing my car insurance this week, I am still obliged to mention a certain incident in 2002, in which the elderly Tufty Club lady drove her Metro into my car at about 10 mph. A classic accelerator/brake confusion that's done for many a farmers' market in the past, her cries of "Forty years! I've had my no claims bonus for forty years!" fell on deaf ears. You would have thought she would have known better.

Friday, September 23, 2005



Smoking, conventional wisdom tells us, is A Bad Thing.

This knowledge, however, does not stop legions of school kids getting their filthy paws on as many tobacco products as they can, and smoking them in the bushes behind the sports hall. All well and good, if it were not for the Great Bushes Behind The Sports Hall Fire of 1981, when the jackboot of authority stamped down on all forms of substance abuse in our school. And that, sadly, included the smoking of PG Tips teabags, of which we were aficionados. Even in Mr Law’s art class, where more-or-less anything goes. Or went.

Come the moment, come the man, and in this case it was my very own brother, who found that Darth Vader, the wheezing old consumptive who ran the newsagents where we had our paper rounds, was willing to sell us snuff. Snuff – that’s ground-up tobacco that you then snort up your nose and sneeze like a bastard.

Better still, snuff was far, far cheaper than regular cigarettes, and the small, blue tin could be secreted round the person in the event of an unexpected spot-check for illicit substances.

This discovery brought about the start of the great snuff craze, which led to entire lessons disrupted by bouts of sneezing and the frenzied groans of acolytes as they tried to hoover up whole lines of the stuff like proper druggies. Kate Moss would have been *so* proud. Snuff spread through the school like wild-fire, with the needy often approaching suppliers in the playground with a plaintive “Hey buddy, can you spare me a pinch?” while a black market flourished in the science block toilets.

Those who couldn't afford snuff, or were too chicken to ask at Darth’s paper shop, went out and sought alternatives. When parents’ kitchen cupboards were stripped bare of anything remotely powdery, they descended on the local supermarket for cinnamon, spices and anything else in powdered form that could be shovelled up the nostrils and sneezed all over the girl sitting at the desk in front.

There were, naturally, accidents. Bicarbonate of Soda was a particularly poor choice on Seany’s behalf, especially bearing in mind that he liked plenty of vinegar on his school dinner, which was, habitually, a double portion of chips. It was perhaps the first and only time I have ever seen somebody literally foaming from the mouth. Talcum powder, sold to unwitting first years at a horrendous mark-up, did have the unfortunate after-effect of preventing the victim from breathing.

We were told to stop, however, on the Day of the Nosebleeds. The Reverend Ratings' sermon during assembly was disrupted by Andy Chapman – the most nose-bleedy person I have ever met – whose surreptitious snort of the highest quality paprika unleashed a torrent of blood from his shattered nasal cavity, which he then sneezed all over the front six rows of the school hall.

“AAAAA-SWEEEEEGH!” he screamed, taking out several windows in the process.

His face spattered with red and yellow goo, Mr Bull, our demon headmaster, was quite understandably rather upset at this turn of events.

“What the dickens are you doing, boy?” he thundered as heads turned to face the culprit.

“I… I… I… AAAAA-SWEEEEEGH!”, he continued, repeating the blood-and-goo trick on the rest of the school, “Snuff sir.”

The cat out of the bag, snuff-taking was added to the ever-lengthening list of prohibited activities, which for some reason, still included “The buying and selling of Gideon Bibles for profit.”

Just say no, kids.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

A Grudging Thursday Vote-o

A Grudging Thursday Vote-o

After a couple of days of frantic pie-based action, it’s a relief to get back to our irregularly scheduled nonsense: The Thursday vote-o, which I’m only doing because certain readers complained. *cough* Ricardipus *cough* Wyldwoods *cough*

As a result of working hours, commuting, and the fact I can’t be arsed to get online on Friday, I’m going to piss on the fireworks of anybody visiting from other time zones by insisting that this vote-o will close-o at 4pm [BST] this afternoon-o.

* Snuff – not what you think
* Revolution! – not what you think, either

I’ve limited the choice to just a couple of stories a) for my own convenience and b) there’s a chance that I’ll be on national radio this weekend*, and a story about frantic masturbation may not be entirely appropriate.

* Cancelled for a few weeks, you lucky people.

Other stuff, with sneaky make-me-rich links

The excellent Tim Worstall has compiled an anthology of weblog writing called "2005: Blogged", and with very little effort, I am a published writer again. I believe the work contains weblog posts about my poor, poor love spuds, preserved for your delight and amusement. Pre-order it up and enjoy my agony for all time, before passing it on to your grandchildren.

Also deserving of note is a young up-and-coming writer and blogger, a Mr Neil Gaiman, whose latest work Anansi Boys reaches bookshops this week. My nipples explode in delight at the thought of this one thudding onto my doormat.

Also: Bush! It's no good. I've cum.

Scaryduck’s ‘Did You Know...?’ No. 320

Eric Clapton got the nickname "Slowhand" following an incident involving Hank Marvin of The Shadows, a suspiciously buggered watermelon, six crates of industrial strength KY Jelly and a signed photo of Felicity Kendall. Hank is still in denial over the whole episode, and hasn't spoken for twenty-seven years as a result.

Techie Request

If there's anybody out there who can look at my coding and tell me why this site doesn't load properly in Firefox, I'd be chuffed enough to send you free stuff. Ta.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Pie: Woe II

Pie: Woe II

So, after discovering that the Breville Pie Magic - the handiest pie-making kitchen gadget ever devised - is no more [except, it turns out, in Australia, explaining a thing or two about Shane Warne and his more than ample girth] - I expressed my outrage at its untimely death to anybody who would listen to me, and quite a few who wouldn’t.

For those of you arriving late in the day, the Pie Magic was a rather clever adaptation of the traditional sandwich toaster that allowed the user to combine the pastry and filling of their choice for pie-making purposes. After a mere eight minutes, it would turn out a piping hot pie, ready to be devoured. With a capacity of two pies, the clever chef could make both dinner AND pudding pies at the same time, thus producing a whole meal in less than ten minutes (plus the three hour preparation time, which we’ll gloss over).

Breville, unfortunately, lost faith in the contraption, sparking minor outrage several years later when I quite fancied a home-made pie made in a turbo-charged sandwich toaster....

“So, what are you going to do about it? Start a petition?”

Yes. Yes. I think I will.

Bring Back the Breville Pie Magic Petition

This is important*, dammit. We've got The Ashes. The Aussies get the Pie Magic. That's just wrong in my book. Sign up now, and we can shame those terrible suits into restoring this important icon of popular culture.

The Pie Magic Must LIVE!

* Actually, it's not, but that's the whole point, isn't it?

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Pie: Woe

Pie: Woe

Yesterday, I rang a phone number in Manchester.

“Hello, Breville”, said the girl in the press office.

“Is that the same Breville that makes useful kitchen appliances?” I asked.

“The very same.”

“Where can I get a Breville Pie Magic, then?”

“You can’t.”

“I beg your pardon?”

“You can’t. We stopped making them several years ago.”


“I’m sorry. There just wasn’t the market.”




I found a couple on Ebay, but who in their right mind would pie a second-hand pie machine? It's had other people's pie in it and would be like using someone else's underpants as a tea strainer.

Perhaps you might like to join me on my crusade to force Breville to restart production of the Pie Magic. A much-missed addition to any kitchen, I am sure you'll agree, and if we can get pie-supremo Fraser on our side, our crust is as good as glazed.

Anyone can use a sandwich toaster – often to devastating effect – the Pie Magic is the kitchen implement that separates Homo Sapiens from Homo Superior.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Ebay Weirdness

Ebay weirdness

So it’s come to this. An urgent phone call at work: “I’ve got to go and pick up the kids from school. Could you bid on something on Ebay for me?”


“It’s collectable. Stuff like this will be worth a fortune one day. It was on the Antiques Roadshow.”

It’s a bear. A teddy bear that snores when you squeeze its belly. Two pounds ninety-nine.

To misquote the lovely, lovely Sarah Cracknell from St Etienne – “Won it, put it in a drawer, and will forget he ever bought it.”

Don’t tell, I’m getting her a Steiff for her birthday. And thussly, my annual bonus has been pissed up the wall.


Petty things that get on your tits:

* It's a Reliant Robin for God's sake and not, repeat, NOT a Robin Reliant. The name of the company is Reliant, the model is a Robin. Add a wheel and it becomes a Reliant Kitten, fluffiest of all car names.

* It's not appauled or apaulled it's APPALLED. I dunno, some people's spelling can be just appalling.

* Ebay deleting a comedy auction ("Anal Jewelry") which I had lined up for today's Ebay Weirdness post. Gah!

That is all. Tell me more.

Also, Also

Yarr! Yaaaaraaarrarrrr! Shiver me timbers. And Yarrrrrr! Me hearties.

(That's enough pirate talk - ed)

P.S. Yarrrr.

Friday, September 16, 2005

God/football interface

God/football interface

Glenn Hoddle was right – mixing religion and football turns you into an utter tart. And as Hoddle said to public ridicule a few years ago, I must have done something really bad to deserve this particular fate.

Sunday mornings must have been heaven in the Scary household when I was a kid. This was mainly because my parents packed us all off to Sunday School for a good bit of churching up, which, looking back, was thoroughly deserved. Instead of getting the day of rest promised to us on the very first page of the bible (just under the bit that says 10,237th edition, copyright Jehovah), we were forced, at gunpoint, to a freezing cold hall where over-enthusiastic old ladies would attempt to halt our inevitable slide into Hell.

Toward the end of the day’s indoctrination, the local vicar would arrive, cheeks still bulging from the communion wafers, and let us have both barrels of a kiddified version of the day’s sermon.

However, he didn’t just stop there. The good Reverend was a God-botherer of many talents. Taking his cue from the likes of Charles Wesley and John Newton, he wrote hymns. Wesley only managed such piffling works as “Hark the herald angels sing”, while Newton knocked out “Amazing Grace” on the back of an old envelope. Reverend Fred was also influenced by Weird Al Yankovic and was under the impression that changing the words to established tunes was something “fun”. So, he took the theme tune to Match of the Day and turned it holy. Spurred [geddit?] by this relative success, he added new words to a whole arsenal [eh? eh?] of football chants and made us, The Kids, sing them. Every bloody Sunday.

Rabid self-publicist that he was, he was granted a nutter-of-the-day spot on BBC Nationwide.

For the uninitiated, Nationwide was an early-evening magazine programme that ran five days a week in the 1970s and 1980s. As you can imagine, such a programme often struggled to obtain engaging content day-in, day-out, so they were rather heavy on what is known as “human interest” stories. Or, to you and me, “nutters”. Every edition seemed to have at least one mad old bastard and his pet theory, useless talent or whatever (most famously the chap who claimed he could jump on eggs without breaking them, but it transpired that he merely jumped near them. Shamed by the experience, he vowed revenge on an uncaring society and is now the Home Secretary.*), and now it was our turn.

Come Sunday morning, cameras turned up at the Church Hall and filmed us singing a badly rehearsed version of Match of the Day, trying to remember the words whilst waving football scarves over our heads in a manner that only exists in the minds of TV producers who have never been to a football match in their lives. As one of the mad old bats hammered away on the piano, we sung from our hastily-prepared song-sheets:

"We are all the friends of Jesus
We're all the friends of God"

And several verses that I can, thankfully, no longer remember, while the vicar stood at the front looking smug.

I felt a certain amount of celebrity over the whole getting-on-national-television business, and hoped to be feted like some sort of cherubic superstar once our moment of glory finally hit the small screen. And so it happened, and myself and my fellow Sunday School victims arrived at school the following morning fully expecting a hero’s welcome. Fat chance.

My reward was this: a playground cock-punch for being a "smarmy God-bothering swot", and head-shaking pity from Miss Shagwell and her heaving bosoom, which was fair enough to be honest.

The day after, a further cock-punch was, in my humble opinion, a tad excessive. Especially from a teacher of her standing.

Proof indeed that the Devil has all the best tunes.

Funnily enough, in researching this story, I’ve found another vicar that’s done a Match of the Day hymn (“Make Jesus the centre-forward of your life”**), plus one to the Star Wars theme praising Our Lord Jesus Christ as “The Force”. Enough to turn anyone to the Dark Side

* My not be entirely true.
** The damn fool, anyone knows that He played in goal for FC Judea in their famous AD 29-30 promotion season. Has this man of the cloth not heard the phrase “Jesus Saves”?

Also: Want more? This story (not my work, thank God), appeared in Wednesday’s Fiver newsletter from The Guardian, and is, quite possibly, the funniest thing I have ever, ever read. Click!

Thursday, September 15, 2005



Finally, after years of searching and a stubborn refusal to pay three-figure sums on Ebay, a very nice man has, at last, furnished me with a CD copy of the greatest album ever made. OK, it’s a CD of his vinyl copy complete with scratches, pops and crackles, but it’s as close as I’m ever going to get to the real thing without resorting to a life of violent crime. And not even a CD is worth that. With my cassette version (49p from the bargain bin at the Virgin Megastore – I still remember the moment of triumph as it rose to the surface in my hot, sweaty palm) dying from overuse, it’s high time I got a decent replacement

You probably haven’t heard of it, though. So, allow me to introduce you to:

Win: …Uh! Tears Baby (A Trash Icon) London Records (1987) – Perfect, perfect pop music from beginning to end from an Edinburgh band that didn’t get the promotion or the break they deserved. Uh! Tears Baby arrived to huge critical acclaim (as did its follow-up Freaky Trigger), but somehow, and as is so often the case, the acclaim didn’t quite match the sales.

The mid-to-late 80s was a cultural desert, so while The Kids were swooning to Wham, Bros and the New Kids on the Block, this lot were criminally assured. Rising from the ashes of the Fire Engines [a pun scoring 3/10 on the Oh-Christ-o-meter], Win were a three-piece, joined by accomplished session musicians and a production that made them sound, well, enormous.

You may well have (unwittingly heard) the group’s finest hour, the single “You’ve Got the Power” in an advert for McEwan’s lager – a rather strange choice as the song is actually about the folly of drug-taking, but it’s certain the ad people chose the song for its stomping tune rather than the actual words.

You’ve Got the Power is the seventh track on the album, and before that you’ve got the perfection of Super Popoid Groove, Shampoo Tears, Hollywood Baby Too, all tracks that, eighteen years on, are still truly infectious. A crime that this bunch of musical geniuses were denied wider airplay, while still Mariah Carey lives.

The band disappeared virtually without trace, leaving a couple of albums of such quality they remain in the top five of anyone whose ever heard them.

Hunt it down, you dogs. Meanwhile:

* Very old review of the masterpiece
* Clips! cut down to legal-sized thirty second chunks by my own fair hand, and will remain online until deleted or the website implodes. Listen. Love. Break into the vaults at London Records and snaffle the masters. You know you want to.

Thursday Lack-o-vote-o

Insanely busy over the next couple of days, spending a large quantity of money my employers forgot to pay me over a period of eight years. There may be linoleum involved, and, following a survey of local builders' skips, office furniture.

So, Praise Him! Praise Him and Praise Him a little bit more, as you are spared a Thursday vote-o. You're getting the long-awaited God/Football interface, and liking it. Praise Him till you've forgot what you're Praising Him for! So - tomorrow [and really getting your hopes up with the quote-o]:

* God/Football interface: "He looked up and saw the wizened, twisted face of Roy Keane bounce across the windscreen, landing like a Henry Moore sculpture. Not far away he saw Rooney fleeing through the bushes, and he put the gas pedal to the floor."


Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Leather on Willow

Leather on Willow

I’m not one to jump bandwagons on these pages, and it’s hardly as if this is important in the great scheme of things, but, to quote the celebrated Oscar Wilde: “My blog! My blog! Nananananana! I can’t hear you!”

On Monday, seven and a half million people watched England win the Ashes on Channel Four. The climax to the outstanding second test in August was seen by a million more. In contrast, most sporting events on Sky are seen by no more than 400,000 people, peaking at little more than a million – mostly in pubs – for the really big events.

So, guess who’s got the rights for ALL England test cricket from now on?

In 1999, the British government quietly took Test Cricket off the “A List” of sporting events – the so-called “Crown Jewels” – guaranteed by the 1996 Broadcasting Act coverage on free-to-air television. This came only a year after then culture minister Chris Smith and the English Cricket Board agreed that – for the good of the game – Test Cricket should remain on our screens. The public interest being far more important than cold, hard cash.

In the same year test cricket was snapped up by Channel Four after the BBC refused to pay a market value for the rights, and there was much talk of doom. In the event, Four made a rather good fist of covering home test matches, while foreign tours disappeared down into the darkness of Sky coverage, whose grudging granting of news clip and late-night highlights programmes were of little comfort to the sports fan.

And now, live cricket will disappear from free-to-air screens. The ECB will get a shed-load of cash, but the game will lose widespread exposure and can only suffer as a consequence. Also, I will not be able to watch it at work, and that’s the worst thing of all. Victory for filthy lucre, then.

I’ve got a feeling it’s far too late, and I’m certain no bugger’s going to listen, but if you’re as concerned as I am at yet another piece of our national heritage being sold off to the Dirty Digger, hop over to, sign their petition and rattle a letter off to your MP.

If your MP happens to be acid-faced midget Tessa Jowell (who is, happily, in charge of this very section of the Broadcasting Act), I’ve still got her under my stairs, so send your shit-filled envelopes [plus fifty quid handling fee] via my place.

Why now? Because cricket’s in the news, that’s why. Strike while the iron is hot and while I’m currently hating football. Get in there!

Update: The Sun (prop: R. Murdoch) doesn't see a problem. Funny, that.

Updated update: The Royal Mail is to produce a commemorative set of stamps to celebrate the Ashes victory. The 68p one [postage to Australia] should be a top seller...

Jordan and Peter: True Romance

If it's funny you want, I done a Celebrity Murder over here.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

On Linguistics

On Linguistics

The English language is a wonderful thing. If it wasn’t for English, we’d all be speaking French, which doesn’t have a word for “weekend”, as the only word they have is “le weekend”, which comes from a language which wouldn’t otherwise exist. Then we’d have to work seven days in a row, or something. Thank God for English, otherwise we’d all be toiling like slaves under some dreadful Gallic yoke. Bollocks to that, then.

We are blessed with a number of most excellent words, which, if left to some dreadful language-by-committee like our soap-dodging friends over the Channel, or even in the hands of Americans, simply would not exist.

"Turds" - I'll never forget the day my grandad taught me that word. It was like my first Werther's Original, only with swearing.

Turds image courtesy Cogitom

“Mind you don’t step in those turds!” he said, and within minutes, the word had passed into general use, much to the disgust of my grandmother. It has been my greatest pleasure passing on the secret of turds to my children, who have increased their vocabulary considerably since I left a copy of Roger’s Profanisaurus lying around by accident.

“Flensing” – the process of removing blubber from beached whales. A word which popped, apropos of nothing, into my head whilst people-watching on Weymouth sea-front the other day.

"Flunge" – the exposed roll of flesh between low-cut trousers and far-too-short t-shirt. OK, it’s a made-up word straight from the Urban Dictionary, but it just sounds so right.

And “git” – the swear-word that’s OK for kids. Git is wonderful. In French the equivalent word is “le poupeneuf”, which is shit; whilst the American Language Cleansing Committee has come up with “potty-trousers”, which should be dragged outside and shot.

Et vous, mes petits poupeneuves? I'm stuck for words which aren't sweary. Help me out here.

Staring at the sun

I've been taking pictures again, a rather lovely evening spent standing at the top of a cliff. Look! A Flickr album --- Hey! I can see my house from here!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Me = l33t

Me = l33t

1. Go to google

2. Type the search term - worst person ever

3. Click on "I'm feeling lucky"

4. Repeat until exhausted.

This makes me this: excellent, because Google never lies.

This also works for “best person ever”, but only if you enclose the search term in quotation marks. I rule teh intarnets!

An actor speaks

“Hi! I’m Troy McClure. You may remember me from such medical instructional films as ‘You and your spleen: A user’s guide’ and ‘Rectal examinations for fun and profit’.

“Have you ever considered having a vasectomy? Worried that a man you’ve never met is going to slice open your ball bag with a knife and thrash about with a red hot pair of scissors until they don’t work anymore, whilst engaging you in otherwise normal conversation? Is the last thing you want to see before you allow this to happen to you a video of this very operation?

“Well, worry no more – they’ve filmed an operation and put it on the internet, and it’s not even rotten com. Watch out of the part of the movie where I miss – and get the sack!”

And I wondered why George Lucas was hanging around on My Day of Hell.

Friday, September 09, 2005

Theatre of Hate

Theatre of Hate

Sunday lunchtimes in the Duck household were spent in the bar of our local village hall.

Loddon Hall in Twyford was a purpose-built establishment thrown up at the arse end of the 1960s out of cardboard and pebble-dash and was intended to be the cultural hub of the village. Instead, it stood mostly empty, with a big flat roof that leaked whenever it rained, and was routinely torn to pieces during the Saturday morning kids’ cinema club, of which I was an enthusiastic member, Children’s Film Foundation movies a speciality. While parents spent their Sundays getting steadily sizzled in the company of friends, feeding all their loose change into the one-armed bandit, we kids had the run of the hall, which boasted a number of function rooms, a large kitchen and store room, and a stage.

And what a stage! The very same boards trodden by the Twyford and Ruscombe Amateur Dramatic Society for its annual Christmas pantomime, which would traditionally appear just in time for February. This always featured some girl from school dressed up as a cat, and the entire cast forgetting the words to the songs. The dramatic arts at their finest.

We put on plays, opening and shutting the curtains on their electric swoosh until they fell off their track. We lit the stage with every single spotlight we could until the little disc in the meter under the stairs was spinning off its axis, and found that stage-diving from about six feet up had the potential to be very, very painful.

We mostly pretended to be the Beatles and re-enacted “Help” most Sundays, very, very badly with countless arguments and without the benefit of catchy tunes. I always ended up as Ringo (“because you’ve got a big nose”), but we never let Teresa play, because her dad was mental and she was a prize bitch who stole the darts from the bar and threw them at us.

Under the stage was a massive store room filled to the gunwales with props, costumes, bits of scenery, a bingo machine used by the OAPs club on a Tuesday (where we hid the number 17 ball to teach the old farts a lesson about the futility of gambling), but , alas, no hidden stores of money, porn or sweets.

There was, however, the most gruesome of finds: a large chest filled with body parts. Unfortunately, none of them appeared to have been hacked off any actual person – living or dead – but appeared to have belonged, at some stage to a number of mannequins.

A plan!

“Yes, Teresa, you can play with us this week. You can be Yoko. Yoko Ono.”

The game: Hide and Seek, and you’re counting to 500, Teresa …err… Yoko.

Under the stage we fled and waited. Oh, how we waited.

Minutes later, Teresa could be heard, blundering around in the dark looking for us. There was a crunch as she trod on the table-tennis balls out of the bingo machine, and a muffled shriek as head collided with a large part of Dick Whittington’s house. As she drew near to four hiding idiots barely suppressing a fit of giggles, we threw on the lights to reveal a sickening scene of dismembered limbs, heads, a torso and about three pints of stage blood.

She screamed. She staggered, fell backwards onto her backside, pulled herself back to her feet, and screamed again.

And after she’d finished screaming and falling over and screaming, she threw up a quite spectacular and worrying flood of panda pops, mixed, I think, with what appeared to be peanuts. Or it could have been her insides flooding out all over the bingo balls, with any luck.

She screamed again.

And fled, screaming and chundering, crushed and vomit-spattered bingo balls scattering in all directions.

A triumph.

There was, unfortunately, a certain amount of adult intervention at this point, and the police had to be cancelled en route.

Worse. We had to apologise. Teresa. Parents. The village hall committee – three stern faced old bastards wearing blazers. And after a week of painting numbers onto ping pong balls, the Grannies Smelling-Like-Wee Bingo Club.

Two weeks later, our grounding completely forgotten, we were under the stage again.

“Hey! John, Paul, George! Look what I’ve found here…. Somebody go get Yoko….”

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Monster Mash

Monster Mash

I was walking through the graveyard on my way out of work last night*. There was this rustling noise by one of the crosses, and there, rising up before me, was this black-and-white thing scuffling around in the dirt.

"Zombies!" I thought, my innards heading rapidly towards my trousers, "Black and white zombie minstrels who'll eat my brains and sing Ol' Man River!"

Then I saw it was a badger, and the badger saw I was a terrible example of humanity and it ran away.

"Mushroom, Mushroom", I shouted after it in the traditional style, but it had gone without even giving me the courtesy of a nice little dance.

Fast-forward another couple of hours, and nature is calling me again. I stand in the bathroom of my lodgings, waiting for nature to run its course.

“WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAARRRGHHHHHHHH!” went the voice outside the window, a chilling scream the scraped the very bottom of my soul.

“Meep”, I said.

“WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAARRRGHHHHHHHH!” it went again, this time closer, louder, and obviously the sound of some hideous, hellish act of torture.

Or it could just have been a fox, right outside my window saying “Look! There’s a bloke up there taking a wee”.

Damn you nature, go scare the willies out of somebody else.

* Our office has a genuine graveyard, next to the bins. No-one ever asks for a pay rise in this place.

Thursday Vote-o: The Pasta Perspective

Good grief, I’ve been outstandingly productive this week, and have no less than six Scary stories lined up for future use. Go on, count ’em – SIX! Except you can’t, because I’m giving you the choice of a grand total of two top quality stories, as ordered by the voices in my head, currently under the control of The Flying Spaghetti Monster (Praise His Noodly Appendages).

Vote, then, and vote me good for the following (extra credit for fellow Pastafarians):

* Theatre of Hate – “And lo, He did descend upon the broad masses and anointed them with parmesan cheese and garlic bread; and they prais’d his noodly appendages.”
* God/Football – “And thence He appeared before the prophet and decried the evil that is Ragu, and openly mocked the man who eats spaghetti with a knife and fork.”

Ramen! Also: Yarrrr!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005



The Best Person Ever poll didn’t quite touch all the bases, mainly because the people involved aren’t quite dead yet. So, people I think are/were graet:

- Ernest Shackleton. The greatest polar explorer who never quite got there, got stuck and had to sit on an ice-flow for a year before rowing to safety across thousands of miles of empty water. Like all great explorers and inventors, he was utterly useless with money, and spent his entire life in bitterly cold places to escape angry creditors and family members.

- Galileo Galilei. Owner of a magnificent beard, and some of the finest astronomical instruments known to man. Was not the first, and certainly won’t be the last to get into trouble with religious types for pointing out that they are completely and utterly wrong in the matters of science, and would you mind just fucking off out of my lab, please?

- Matt Groening. Creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, and therefore in the top ten of greatest living people, ever. Left-handed, too, which makes him doubly excellent. Officially the only American to be spared come the revolution.

The fact that all of these people share my birthday is, of course, purely coincidental.

Also sharing my birthday: The Labour Party (100 years old in 2006). I remember them, they used to stand for something.

You know what I’m going to ask. Regular reader Ricardipus confesses he shares his birthday with Talk Like a Pirate Day, and will thus be getting scurvy by way of a present this year. Who do you share your birthday with – and are they particularly heroic?

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

In Summary: GAAAAAAAH!

In Summary: GAAAAAAAH!

The "Great" Dorset Steam Fair.

There's nothing great about this dreadful shower of bastards who block up the roads around my home for the best part of two weeks every summer. And specifically bar every road in the south of England when I’m trying to get to work. But who am I to argue, it's just about the biggest thing in the South of England, even though, when I crawled past in my car yesterday, it looked like a shanty town.

Steam Engines. Antique Lorries. Tractors. Vintage Cars. All driving in front of me. With their fucking caravans. Snaking across the roads of Dorset and Wiltshire like a string of arseholes*, mostly in front of me.

And when it's over, who in their right mind thinks "I know, I'll drive my slow-moving steam-engine-plus-caravan home right in the middle of the Monday morning rush hour when every other sane person is trying to get to work"?

I have never seen so many bastards with caravans in my life. I have, however, learned how much fun it is to drive on the wrong side of the road for extended periods, screaming "Ppl! You're all BASTAAAAARDSSSSSS!" as I roar past.


They also have their own radio station - Steam FM – which played merry hell with my slightly illegal MP3-to-car radio wossname with their line-dancing country and western bollocks.

Utter bastards.

And thus, you have a detailed description of my 110-mile drive to work yesterday, mostly at 5 mph, nudging the bloke with the flag with my front bumper.

Great to see, in this world where civilisation is going to hell in a hand-cart, that I’ve got everything in perspective.

* I wrote this before I knew I had hordes of visitors from BBC Online. “Hmm”, I thought, “Hmmm. Should I temper my language in respect of the feelings of my new guests?” Five seconds later: “No. No I won’t.”

On surprises

My dad once gave me a present. A Bauhaus record. No reason – he just came into my room, said “I thought you might like this” and plonked a 7” single of “Telegram Sam” from the proto-goths’ ripping-off-other-people’s-songs phase onto my desk.

I was just leaving my New Romantic phase at the time, and on the cusp of becoming a genuine lazy bastard. How did he know?

The B-side was better, I recall, and I was left floundering at the fact that his previous attempts at getting in touch with my yoof culture had been a dismal failure. For my thirteenth birthday I got The Muppet Show Album Volume Two, while my friend got Led Zep from his old man. In that one gesture, I felt more connected to the old fella than I had for a long time. It was, in summary, excellent.

My sister stole the Bauhaus, and I believe Kermit is somewhere in a huge pile of records at Professor Duck’s chateau in the West Country, along with an original 7” of Rolf’s “Two Little Boys”.

I fear I may be continuing a long-running “I’m turning into my Dad” them at this point in time, after a recent attempt to understand my children has resulted in “Dad – what’s a Goldfrapp?”

So, surprised and alarmed by an outrageously out-of-character gift? Tell!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Summer = Over

Summer = Over

And so, September comes and the ducklings are back at school.

Quiet reigns at Scaryduck Towers, for at least six hours a day. It's just a shame, then, that I'm at work and don't reap the benefit. Perhaps I should have copied the example of my parents.

Every summer it became a family tradition that we would be sent to my grandparents' house in Essex for a couple of weeks, where we'd go for endless trips to the beach, the woods and a horrible concrete shopping centre in Laindon. Excellent, it was, and the highlight of any year.

I didn't realise until I had kids of my own that this was so that my parents could get shot of three little sods for a fortnight*.

God, I've been slow to learn.

This, then, is a family tradition that I am keen to start once again. Cornwall sounds good. Dad?

* Almost certainly not true, but I wouldn't blame them.

Also: I can't believe I posted an unbelievably harsh and rather selfish post here. Edited somewhat, then. Think before you blog, boy.

Greetings to BBC Online readers. Yes, it's always like this here.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Political Incorrectness Gone Mad

Political Incorrectness Gone Mad

I posted this sorry tale one Monday morning in November 2002, and quite frankly, I don’t feel I did it any justice by pussy-footing round the subject. Yes, I’m recycling them already, only this time with the cynicism turned up to eleven…

It's politcal corectness gone MAD!

We were ten, if that's any excuse.

Our school headmaster was a most enlightened soul by the name of David George. Always on a mission to educate, entertain and inform, he would often show us films on the school cine projector or call in special guests for our school assemblies. Trooping into the hall just after nine in the morning to see the film projector set up was always an exciting moment and made half-an-hour cross-legged on a parquet floor rather more bearable. Sometimes it was something educational, if we were really, really lucky, we got cartoons.

This particular morning, Mr George introduced a very, very nice lady in a twin-set and pearls from The Spastics Society, who was to give us a little lecture about how some children were born different to us. News to me, everybody I had ever met, apart from the time I visited the U S of A during the arse end of the Vietnam War, had the right number of limbs. Even in 1970-something, it was still the done thing to hide the imperfect. The most different person I knew was my best friend Geoff, who had no bone in his nose and could almost turn the thing inside out if he so cared. Which he did, often.

Cerebral Palsy wasn't a phrase in circulation in those days: you were a spastic, and life was damn tough. It was all news to most of us, being generally sheltered from the big, bad world in our middle-class households. She was, I am certain, the kind of person who would stand rattling a collection tin in the centre of town asking passers-by to “Help the poor cripples.”

“I’m here,” she said, “to talk about the cripples.”

Oh yes.

There was one disabled kid in our whole village. He had legs in callipers, was missing a couple of fingers off his right hand, and was the owner of a particularly sharp, self-deprecating sense of humour. He actually called himself “Shake Rattle and Roll”, how we laughed. He was also the scariest person to get into a fight with, simply because his boots were filled with iron, and could fell a grown man with one merciless blow to the groin. Saw it happen, and laughed like a loon at the idiot who thought he could bully the crippled kid.

So, one token disabled, one token black family (the daughter of whom was somehow asked to sing “White Christmas” at the school carol concert. Who ran the thing –the Ku Klux Klan?). Welcome to Tokenville, Berkshire.

The nice lady in twin-set and pearls showed us the film. It was a beautiful work, artfully shot in black and white, of a boy's struggle in life against his handicap. It told us the facts, how we were blessed to live a normal life, and how the poor crippled children needed the helping hand that the Spastics Society provided. The film, I remember, ended with the lad managing, against the odds, to struggle across a room, pull himself to his feet and reach a favourite toy with a smile of triumph. It was wonderful. I was inspired. I would go out straight after school to find crippled kids and help them cross the road, or something.

“Help the poor cripples” the nice lady said as she left, thoughtfully leaving a collection tin by the door.

We left a hall without a word, a tear in the eye, joyful at the strength of the human spirit in the face of adversity, pain and utter despair.

This air of bliss lasted exactly twenty-eight seconds.

Andy: “You spastic.”

Dave: “You cripple, Andy.”

Andy: “You fucking spastic.”

The S-word AND the F-word in one sentence. French class was going to be superb fun today.

By the end of morning break, everybody in a school of 400 pupils had called everybody else a spastic, a cripple, or inventive combinations of the two.

"Spastic", "Spas", "Spacker", “Flid”, “Mong”, “Joey” and other variations on a theme became our weapons of choice for the next twenty years. Kids, eh? Our favourite word, however, was our own invention: “Anvid”. Utterly harmless when spoken in polite company, being an Anvid was worse, even, than not being a Benny Tied to a Tree.

I’ve grown up now.

I no longer call people who get on my tits a “spastic.” I call them a “retard” instead, and it’s still wrong.

When the lightly-oiled TV celebrity Kirstie Allsopp recently referred to herself – on air – as “Mnnnnng Kirstie” over a minor faux pas, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. Actually, I laughed, and felt guilty about it, if that helps. But then, if it’s OK with the Chelsea set, it’s certainly not OK with me. You can always trust someone famous to act the flid and spoil it for the rest of us, can’t you?

Bloody Anvids.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Happy Thursday

Happy Thursday

The site's been flying on autopilot for the last week or so, while we've finally sat down and settled Duck vs A Certain Builder who I not allowed to call either a) workshy or b) a cunt. The final agreement involves a confidentiality clause that means neither party is actually allowed to mention the fact this whole unpleasant business even took place. So, keep it under your hat, eh?

And the result, you ask? Wel... kkkRRRZZZZ +++CARRIER LOST+++*

Still, it's Thursday, and you deserve a vote-o before I hop out for a big plate of steak and chips. Quote-os do no necessarily match up to the vote-os.

* Theatre of Hate: "My God, vicar! What an enormous chopper!" exclaimed the French Ambassador. "Ferrero Rocher?"
* Political Incorrectness Gone Mad: "I'm wet for you", said Pope Benedict, "absolutely sloppy."
* God/Football interface: "Cod and Chips twice, and a deep-fried Mars", Prince Harry drawled, his face a drug-addled nightmare of pain and delight.

* I'm not complaining. Read into that what you will